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AUDIENCE REVIEW: Lonesome Bend
Bryce Dance Company
August 15, 2015
Bryce Dance Company's beautifully crafted piece "Lonesome Bend" began at the entrance to Wrightsville Beach, a local recreation area outside of Montpelier, Vermont. Audience members were led in small groups through a trail marked by large scale prints of old photographs of a major flood that occurred in 1927; the vast body of water before us stood in sharp contrast to a historical record of photos of how water can destroy shelter and semblance of lives - a story began to viscerally unfold.
The beach was dotted with a few natural colored, cloth tents and a couple, a man and a woman, facing the audience suggesting a place of community, of family. The couple later ignites in a gorgeous duet that suggests love, support and loss. A single dancer, Heather Bryce, dressed in a blue cotton dress, begins to stir and swirl. This seemed to entice other dancers, also in various blue hues, to join. Soon, dancers moved up and down a large hill in an artful cascade and eventually made their way to the shore line. There, they discovered lost artifacts, an unexpected and evocative twist, and collected them and brought them up to the beach; a safer place. Some dancers found twigs and logs and began to build fires creating warmth and a sustenance.
Live musicians supported this work with a rich composition of driving rhythm and texture, and most importantly there was an overlay of recorded interviews of two flood survivors. Their words and tone of voice providing depth, sheer emotion and imagery. The dancing, the scene, the sound all seemed to reflect upon each other in perfect harmony to tell the story of finding strength through loss. The piece occurred at dusk on a humid day and a dewy cloud seemed to rise from the evergreens just as the performers subsided and found home again. It was an absolutely stunning backdrop.
Heather Bryce is the founder and artistic director of the Bryce Dance Company. More information at www.brycedancecompany.com